All of my life, I have loved the written word. Vividly I can recall the exact moment in kindergarten when it all clicked and I suddenly could read. It was a miracle- The words unfolded on the page, spinning and weaving and swirling in my mind, making pictures better than anything I could draw with my crayons, and the love affair was on.
Then, I learned to write. Just the act of writing, of penmanship, was art to me. I loved the way the letters curled and curved and how different shapes could mean the same thing. I loved the command I had over how those words looked, and I wanted them to look as lovely, charming and enchanting as they sounded. Needless to say, my handwriting has never held a candle to good ol’ Wills Shakespeare, but heaven knows, I tried! (just look at his writing!)
It was later on that I discovered how different writing instruments could feel so different in your hand, and how the curl and swoop of your hand would change with soft leads, flowing India inks and charcoals… And that nothing felt quite so fine in my hand as a thick, heavy pen. And when you are young, they are pretty hard to come by- No one wants to give a kid an expensive pen. No one besides my grandma. She saw my love early, and she gave me my first set of nice pens. They were a silver Cross pen/pencil set, which I coveted and then promptly lost.
It was also my grandma who put the first fountain pen in my hot little hand… and I have been lost to all others ever since. There is just something about writing with a fountain pen that makes the words carry more weight. The ink pools in your natural pauses and the ends of your strokes, it fades and deepens, the nib slowly wears to the slant of your hand; a fountain pen makes penmanship into art. Just look at old handwritten letters and postcards if you wonder what I mean. There is a beauty to them that is lost to letters written with a Bic.
At this point, (and I’m very careful not to say I collect them), I have more than a handful of fountain pens. There are old ones, family hand-me-downs, new ones that were pretty and I couldn’t resist them, wooden pens, boxed pens, found pens, disposable fountain pens (used in German schools for teaching children to write properly, if you can believe that!) and an assortment of other darlings I have acquired over the years.
Then there is my baby. My Pen. My beautiful, sexy, wonderful Pen. It lives on my desk, but it has a leather box lined in white satin that it came in. I do keep it mixed in with the other pens, but it’s unmistakable. The very best pen in the whole world, the Meisterstueck 149 by Mont Blanc… If you like pens, those words will make you drool. This is the pen governments use to signs peace treaties, terms of surrender, accords and declarations. It is heavy, thick, solid, fluid, with a wide gold nib that gently gives to the hold of your hand- the ink is drawn up into the pen by hand, and there is simply not a finer handwriting instrument anywhere.
Even my kids know not to touch it… they like to look at it, and someday I will introduce them to the pleasure of a fine pen, but not yet. For now, it remains my little rediculous indulgence; A reminder of a lifelong love, and a well used instrument of my life. (If you’re interested, you can see one of these lovlies here.) *sigh*